How One Church Shifted to a More Powerful Question

“We don’t have any children or youth at our church on Sunday mornings. How can we compete with the other churches in town? What Children at Churchwill it take to fill up our Sunday morning classes again?” The church asking these questions was made up of people primarily 65 years or older. Their children and grandchildren had grown up in this church and moved on. They desperately wanted to fill their Sunday programs with children and youth.

Their church coach asked them, “What are the unique opportunities for kids at your church right now?” The group couldn’t come up with any answers. “Okay,” the coach finally said, “Never mind Sundays. What are some opportunities for kids to be at your church on the other days of the week?” They agreed to ponder that question on their own.

A few weeks later, the coach returned for a follow-up session. To his surprise, the church members reported: “You know, we need to stop trying to be like other churches on Sunday. That’s just not us – at least not right now. On Sunday, we’re church just like we’ve been for the past 50+ years. That’s not going change in the near future. But we can be different from Monday to Friday. Most of us are retired and the community really needs an after-school program with tutoring. We can offer that.”

The question had changed from “what will it take to fill up our Sunday morning children’s programs?” to “how can we make a difference from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday?”

This story can be found in the book Change Your Question, Change Your Church, along with other examples, tips and resources for asking more powerful questions in ministry settings.

What could be possible at your church if you were to change the questions you’re asking right now?

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J. Val Hastings

J. Val Hastings, MCC, is the Founder and President of Coaching4Clergy, which provides specialized training for pastors, church leaders and coaches. Val is the author of the book The Next Great Awakening: How to Empower God’s People with a Coach Approach to Ministry and the e-book The E3-Church: Empowered, Effective and Entrepreneurial Leadership That Will Keep Your Church Alive. Val currently holds the designation of Master Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation, the highest coaching designation.

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